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Uranium particle identification with SEM-EDX for isotopic analysis by secondary ion mass spectrometry

Esaka, Fumitaka ; Magara, Masaaki 

Secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) is a promising tool to measure isotope ratios of individual uranium particles in environmental samples for nuclear safeguards. However, the analysis requires prior identification of a small number of uranium particles that coexist with a large number of other particles without uranium. In the present study, this identification was performed by scanning electron microscopy -energy dispersive X-ray analysis with automated particle search mode. The analytical results for an environmental sample taken at a nuclear facility indicated that the observation of backscattered electron images with $$times$$ 1000 magnification was appropriate to efficiently identify uranium particles. Lower magnification (less than $$times$$ 500) made it difficult to detect smaller particles of approximately 1 $$mu$$m diameter.

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